Sailing: Golding in epic battle to hold off Sanderson

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The Independent Online

As a trio of French trimaran skippers skittled the transatlantic record and a fourth prepared to join the dockside celebrations in Boston last night, further north, off the notorious Grand Banks, a battle royal was still in play as Britain's Mike Golding worked night and day to win the 60-foot monohull class of The Transat.

As a trio of French trimaran skippers skittled the transatlantic record and a fourth prepared to join the dockside celebrations in Boston last night, further north, off the notorious Grand Banks, a battle royal was still in play as Britain's Mike Golding worked night and day to win the 60-foot monohull class of The Transat.

Winning plaudits all round was Michel Desjoyeaux, whose winning time in Géant for the 2,800-mile course from Plymouth was eight days, 8hr 29min 55sec, a massive 38hr and 52sec faster than the record set in the previous race, in 2000, by Francis Joyon.

Desjoyeaux had a relatively trouble-free crossing this time, though in early headwinds he complained that his 38-year-old body was too old to take the knocks and bangs.

Just over 129 minutes behind in Sodebo, Thomas Coville admitted that he had eased back in the big winds feeling it was not the right time to push. "Mich had the feeling he could push hard at that time," he observed. Also safely tied up was Franck Cammas in Groupama with Alain Gautier in Foncia completing the last few miles.

Going into the final quarter of the race, Golding, in his Open 60 Ecover, was feeling slightly more comfortable with a 20-mile lead over the man who has pushed him every inch of the monohull way, the New Zealander Mike Sanderson in Pindar.

There is no way Golding could let up and he is well on course to break the record of 14 days 16hr 1min set by Yves Parlier in 1992. But, having established a position to the north of him, Sanderson will be hoping for a faster angle coming into the finish.

In fourth place, the Australian Nick Moloney, who has taken over Ellen MacArthur's yacht and now campaigns it as Skandia, had a 16-mile advantage over Conrad Humphreys, who, in Hellomoto, hopes to join Moloney in the Vendée Globe in November.

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